GREGORY ALLEN HOWARD
THE PRINCES OF PREFERENCE

Newt Gingrich, Bill Bennett, and Fred Barnes.

Three of the worst, most vicious critics of Judge Sonia Sotomayor were themselves early recipients of white male racial preference.

By now, everyone is more than aware of the hideous exchange between Bill Bennett and the clueless Fred Barnes regarding Judge Sotomayor. In this insipid discourse Fred Barnes (Virginia ‘65) and Bill Bennett (Williams ‘65) ruminated over her questionable Princeton background. Barnes, “Was she admitted under affirmative action?” Bennett, “One wonders.” Sotomayor graduating summa cum laude? According Barnes, “there are some schools… if you don't get summa cum laude or some kind of cum laude, then you're a D+ student.” Huh? Before that Barnes alleged that Judge Sotomayor had benefited “tremendously” from affirmative action--nary a fact to prove this charge.

What neither one will tell you is that when they were accepted to college they did not have to compete against women or minorities. That’s right, the luminous Fred Barnes and the equally mindless Bill Bennett did not have to compete for a college slot against 66% of other college students because their colleges only accepted white males! That is clear-cut racial preference, baby! Both colleges didn’t go co-ed until 1970 and were barely integrated by then. When these men applied in ’61, the applicant pool was pre-shrunk so they could be accepted.

Who knows where the self-inflated dimwit Fred Barnes would’ve ended up if he had had to compete against qualified minorities at the top of their classes, or women, like an academic tiger like Judge Sotomayor. One wonders. The same applies to the bloviator cum slot king, Bill Bennett. Would he have qualified for the elite Williams College, a “little Ivy,” if he had had to compete against the other 66% of college students? One wonders, again.

It doesn’t stop there. The thrice-married Newt Gingrich (Emory ‘65) who called Sotomayor a “racist,” is another clear beneficiary of racial preference. His college didn’t integrate until 1962. Newt got a white male free ride. She’s a racist, Newt? How about you’re a racist for attending a segregated college and enjoying all the benefits of your preference-enabled education.

Indeed, the academic lift these men got from their race preference opened the door to the careers that they enjoy decades later. One would think somewhere in the recesses of their self-entitled little brains, a voice would speak: “Oh my, I need to first acknowledge that I have been the beneficiary of race programs, that my early career was fueled by the white male race preferences that I enjoyed.” One would think that, and one would be wrong.

Unfortunately, Newt, Bill, and Fred are classic pigs at the trough, only raising their heads long enough to take a gulp of air, then returning to inhale more slop. The slop in this case would be well-paid careers, and fat paychecks for their “analysis” or “opinion.”

Having these men comment or analyze the esteemed Judge Sotomayor, a superstar at every level (valedictorian of her high school; summa cum laude from Princeton; Yale Law Journal editor; prosecutor, district judge, and appellate judge), is like asking a group of chimpanzees to comment on “Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.” But that’s not a fair comparison because that would be a slander against high functioning primates that clearly know what they don’t know.

The unspoken venom of these scurrilous attacks is not that the Judge is Puerto Rican, but that she is female. These men clearly hate women in the public sphere. Why? It goes back to their academic origins. They never had to compete against women during their early academic careers. They had it all to themselves in the beginning. It was a little club of white boys. They loved the simplicity of it, the beauty of it, you know, the good old days.

The irony of their attacks on this supremely qualified woman is that Clarence Thomas never had his modest academic career questioned, and never was called an affirmative action pick despite that fact he was a black man replacing a black man. Thomas did not graduate from college with honors. He did not make Law Journal. Yet no one questioned his intellect (although now having seen him in action, or rather inaction on the court, one would never use the word “intellect” and “rigor” in a sentence describing him).

Moreover, Justice Alito, attended the same college and law school never had his academic career or intellect questioned. This acceptance and acknowledgement of Alito’s academic bona fides is astounding considering the fact that Judge Sotomayor has a more dazzling academic resume from the same University. She was summa at Princeton. Alito was not. She won the Pyne Prize at Princeton (top student award from the University); he did not.

But Barnes, full-time editor and freelance bigot, enthusiastically backed Judge Alito. Not only was his academic background not questioned, it was hailed as “brilliant.” Barnes got excited because in his mind Alito is how a justice is supposed to look: a white male, like all his classmates at the University of Virginia.

Is it any wonder that these men, beneficiaries of segregation, would scoff at diversity? They have only succeeded in their early careers because there was no diversity. Diversity terrifies them because it means they have to compete against everyone-- not like the old days. “Hey, that’s not fair. I don’t want to have to run a race against those black guys or compete against some smart, tough Latina woman.”

Imagine spending 30 years building a professional resume unmatched for a potential justice for the court and before that an amazing academic resume distinguished at two of the top institutions in the world, and to have all that dismissed, belittled, and trivialized by talking-head buffoons whose very existence was predicated on the benefits of segregation. It is to Judge Sotomayor’s great credit that she has handled all this venom with such incredible grace.

Fortunately, Ms. Sotomayor is the most qualified pick in 70 years. She will be confirmed. And these two nincompoops… Well, the dogs bark, but the caravan moves on.

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